Definitely play before you buy.
I am only conversant with tone bar braced archtops and not modern X braced models.
Most have a dry tone with rapid decay as opposed to the sustain you may be familiar with from flattop acoustics.
Some 1940s Gibson archtops I have played were more akin to tunable washboards than sweet and mellow guitars. Remember that the primary use for most was as part of the Rhythm section in bands dominated by horns.
"Life is mostly Froth and Bubble" Adam Lindsay Gordon